University of St. Francis

This article is about the university in Illinois. For the university in Indiana, see University of Saint Francis (Indiana). For other uses, see University of Saint Francis.
University of St. Francis
Former names
Assisi Junior College
College of St. Francis
Motto Primo Unctio et Postea Speculatio
Motto in English
Holiness First and Then Learning
Type Private
Established 1920
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic Church
(Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate)
President Arvid C. Johnson III, Ph.D.
Students 3,352
Undergraduates 1,674
Postgraduates 1,678
Location Joliet, IL, USA
Campus Main Campus: Suburban, 22 acres (8.9 ha)
Slogan Respect. Service. Integrity. Compassion.
Colors Brown and Gold
Athletics NAIACCAC
Nickname Fighting Saints
Mascot Bernie the St. Bernard
Affiliations ACCU
Website Official website

The University of St. Francis is a Catholic, Franciscan university, serving more than 3,300 students at locations throughout the United States. USF's main campus is located at 500 Wilcox Street in Joliet, Illinois. It is located about 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Chicago in a residential neighborhood and serves 1,300 students.


The Main Campus of the University of St. Francis is in the Cathedral Areas Preservation District, amidst some of the city’s most elegant and historic homes, and within easy walking distance of the Cathedral of St. Raymond.

The campus is 35 miles southwest from Chicago. Downtown Joliet and its Metra station are just minutes away, along with the university’s City Center Campus, which houses the Arts and Design Department at the historic Rialto Square Theatre building.

Tower Hall, the main academic building built in 1922, is the iconic image of the university. At the front of Tower Hall is a statue of Mother Alfred Moes, founder of the Sisters of St. Francis. The statue welcomes guests to campus and reminds all of the sisters' many contributions to the Joliet community. Tower Hall's main entrance at Circle Drive is marked by a statue of St. Francis, the institution's patron saint. Just inside the Circle Drive entrance is the Welcome Center.

Tower Hall houses multimedia classrooms, labs and administrative offices, along with WCSF Radio, the campus television station and Terrace Cafe. The College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Health Administration and the College of Education are in Tower Hall, along with the President’s Office. The south wing of Tower Hall contains residence rooms for 90 students. Music, theater, cultural and scholarly events are most often at home in the Harold and Margaret Moser Performing Arts Center. The Moser Center includes an art gallery, studio theater, choral room, music practice rooms and an auditorium.

The library has more than 110,000 volumes, special collections, current periodical subscriptions, computer research areas and group and individual study areas. The Academic Resource Center (ARC), the Center for Instructional Delivery and the university archives are within the library.

Marian Hall, a 250-bed student residence for freshman and sophomores, was renovated in 2005. Each floor contains computer/study area and social lounges. A kitchen is also available to residents. A game room and the Abbey Lounge, where students can attend performances or watch television, are at the ground floor of Marian Hall.

The Pat Sullivan Recreation Center, heart of the Fighting Saints sports teams, has an intercollegiate basketball/volleyball arena, three racquetball courts, locker rooms, a state-of-the-art training room and center and Athletic Department offices.

The Motherhouse

St. Albert Hall is both the natural science learning center and the computer science center. Classrooms, chemistry and physics labs, two computer labs and faculty offices are found in St. Albert Hall.

The Motherhouse, originally home to the university’s founders, the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, is now home to the student center and the College of Nursing classrooms and skills laboratories, including a state-of-the-art Simlab.

The San Damiano Hall auditorium, along with a bistro, Fireside Lounge, game room and vending areas are in the Motherhouse, along with unique residence rooms and suites for 40 students.

Solutions Resource Center for business consulting and conferencing is in the Motherhouse.

Central to campus life is St. Joseph Chapel in the Motherhouse, which welcomes the Sisters of St. Francis each Founders’ Day in September. University Ministry offices are also within the Motherhouse.

Built in 1881, the expansive Motherhouse has been under renovation since 2005.

Students and the community enjoy the quadrangle green space that is centered by a fountain and brick pathway from Tower Hall to the Motherhouse. A “three oaks” tree, which was a traditional gathering place for the Sisters of St. Francis, is just among several species of trees found on campus, including Gingko, Bradford Pear, Honey Locust, Silver Maple, Sycamore and Sugar Maple.

Organization and administration

The University of St. Francis employs a dedicated faculty and staff with strong religious ties. The faculty and staff as well as the college codes and structure make for a sound religious, specifically Roman Catholic, environment in education and college life. These administrative qualities help shape students and teachers in bettering their ideals.

Notable alumni


    Coordinates: 41°31′59″N 88°05′44″W / 41.5330°N 88.0955°W / 41.5330; -88.0955

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